Bolivia crush lethargic Soca Warriors 5-0

TT's Radanfah Abu Bakr (centre) controls the ball during a training session, on Wednesday, in Bolivia. PHOTO COURTESY TTFA MEDIA. -
TT's Radanfah Abu Bakr (centre) controls the ball during a training session, on Wednesday, in Bolivia. PHOTO COURTESY TTFA MEDIA. -

THE ABSENCE of domestic football in Trinidad and Tobago proved conspicuous as the national men’s team suffered a woeful 5-0 defeat to hosts Bolivia in an international friendly on Friday evening.

TT coach Angus Eve called up a number of players who were based in the US for this friendly, as the locally-based players (including defender Radanfah Abu Bakr and Justin Garcia, as well as goalkeeper Adrian Foncette and debutant midfielder Molik Khan) have been inactive since the Concacaf Gold Cup last July.

At the high-altitude Estadio Olimpico Patria in Sucre, Bolivia, in the midst of Conmebol World Cup qualifiers, were confident and clinical, while TT, starting with a five-man back line, appeared keen to invite pressure.

Bolivia obliged, starting with speculative shots, before inching forward and ultimately penetrating the visitors’ defence far too easily for four of their five goals. The TT defence was breached early in the match when a lobbed ball fell to the feet of forward Marcelo Martins, who slotted easily past Foncette, only for his effort to be disallowed for offside.

TT’s near escape, however, was followed by a flurry of Bolivia chances. Juan Arce opened for the South Americans in the 35th minute from a penalty, which was a debatable call from the referee, as Erwin Saavendra lobbed Abu Bakr before going down from a slight touch from the centre-back.

Bolivia finished the half ahead 2-0, shortly after midfielder Rodrigo Ramallo shot and scored from outside the penalty box, with minimal pressure.

The match was done and dusted for the Bolivians by the 53rd minute when Martins collected a pass unchallenged inside the box to finish past Foncette.

TT conceded another soft goal in the 63rd minute when a cross from Martins eluded the heads of Abu Bakr and Jamal Jack for a Leonel Justiano to score.

Miranda rounded off the scoring in the 87th minute.

It was Eve’s first international match since his permanent appointment and the country’s first since competing in the Gold Cup last July. There were few memorable individual performances for TT. Khan, however, was a bright spark in his lively debut, while most of his teammates looked exhausted and off the pace.

TT offered very little offensively from the beginning, recording only two attempts on target to Bolivia’s 12 overall. Bolivia also enjoyed almost three-quarters of ball possession.

The Warriors, comprising mostly inactive players (the United States and Canada seasons will begin in April), looked sluggish, uninspired and without a particular game plan, contrary to a Bolivia squad of match-fit players.

The match fell outside of an official FIFA international match window, which meant neither team could compel active and contracted players to feature.

Bolivia will turn their attention to their World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Chile within the next two weeks, while TT will focus on the first stage of the CONCACAF Nations League, starting in June, unless friendly matches are scheduled before.


BOLIVIA: Carlos Lampe, Jesus Sagredo (Leonel Justiniano 55th), Adrian Jusino (Luis Haquin 68th), Diego Bejarano, Rodrigo Ramallo, Moises Villarroel, Fernando Saucedo (Alejandro Chumacero 55th), Erwin Saavendra (Marc Enoumba 68th), Bruno Miranda (Juan Alexis Ribera 68th), Juan Arce, Marcelo Martins.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Adrian Foncette, Judah Garcia (John Paul Rochford 62nd), Mekeil Williams, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Jamal Jack, Alvin Jones, Noah Powder, Neveal Hackshaw (Reon Moore 46th), Jesse Williams, Ajani Fortune (Molik Khan 46th), Ryan Telfer (Matthew Woo Ling 80th).


"Bolivia crush lethargic Soca Warriors 5-0"

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